Wrongful Death Lawyers of Melrose Obtaining Justice and Fair Compensation for Family Members of the Deceased
Experiencing the death of a family member is one of the most painful and traumatic events that most individuals will have to deal with in their lives. However, losing a loved one through a negligent or intentional act makes the experience even that much more tragic and almost impossible to bear.
If you have lost a loved one to what you believe is wrongful death, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation for your loss. A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit designed to provide compensation for the deceased individual’s family when the decedent’s death was the result of the responsible party’s negligent or careless actions.
If you believe that you have lost a family member to wrongful death, you need to consult with a lawyer immediately. There is a strict time limit in Massachusetts as to how long you have to file a wrongful death claim. The skilled and knowledgeable attorneys of the Martino Law Group, LLC of Melrose, MA, will be happy to review the facts of your case and explain your rights and legal options.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Massachusetts?
Under state law, only the administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate is permitted to file a wrongful death claim. The administrator or executor is the individual who is tasked with ensuring the requirements of the decedent’s will are carried out and that debts are paid, along with carrying out other duties related to the administration of the will. In cases where the decedent did not have a will in place, the court has the legal authority to appoint an executor or administrator to handle the decedent’s estate.
With the legal authority granted to them to handle the decedent’s affairs, the executor also has the ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate. In many instances, the court appoints the surviving spouse, adult children, or even a parent, depending on the circumstances that surround each case. Due to the fact that every family situation is unique, it is highly advised that you speak with a qualified wrongful death attorney in order to ascertain who is legally permitted to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of your loved one.
What Type of Damages Can a Family Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim?
As stated previously, each wrongful death claim is distinct and has its own set of unique circumstances. However, in many wrongful death cases, there are certain financial losses that seem to take precedence over others. Some of the more common economic damages include the following:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses that relate to the decedent’s fatal injuries
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of advice and guidance
- Loss of support
- Loss of household services
As in any legal proceeding, a knowledgeable attorney can advise you of your legal options and which type of damages is appropriate for your case.
What are the Four Elements That Must Be Proven in a Wrongful Death Claim?
In order to be successful at winning a wrongful death claim, there are four elements that must be proven in your case. Under Massachusetts law, the burden of proof in civil suits, including wrongful death, is a preponderance of the evidence. This is much easier to demonstrate than in criminal cases where it is specified that the evidence must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The four elements that must be present in a wrongful death claim include the following:
Duty: The defendant, or alleged at-fault party, owed your loved one a duty to exercise reasonable care.
Breach: The defendant did not exercise reasonable care in their conduct towards the decedent. In legal terms, this means that the defendant was negligent in their actions.
Causation: The defendant’s negligent actions directly caused or greatly contributed to the fatal accident that caused your loved one’s death.
Damages: Your family or the estate of the decedent suffered damages. These damages can include funeral and burial expenses, lost earnings, and loss of companionship.
Due to the fact that wrongful death claims involve a great number of complex legal issues, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney as soon as possible if you believe that your family member died as a result of another person’s negligence.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Massachusetts?
It is critical that you file a wrongful death claim in a timely manner. Massachusetts’ statute of limitations allows an executor of an estate up to three years from the date of death, or the date that they first became aware that they had grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you do not file within the time limit set by the statute of limitations, you are almost guaranteed to lose your wrongful death claim. It is the strict policy of most courts in Massachusetts to refuse to hear a case that has been filed after the specified time limit of three years has passed.
The attorneys of the Martino Law Group, LLC realize that the tragic and unnecessary death of a loved one is one of the most overwhelming situations that a family may ever have to deal with. We also realize that no amount of money can ever bring back your family member or restore life to what it was before their death. However, we can work to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
The Martino Law Group, LLC of Melrose, MA, is dedicated to pursuing justice for your loved one and the fair compensation that you deserve. Contact our law offices by calling (781) 531-8673 and scheduling a free consultation with a highly qualified wrongful death attorney. We will be happy to review your case and make a determination as to the best strategy to move forward. We eagerly look forward to serving you in your time of need.